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Thomas Ricks Education. (2012) 'The Generals American Military Command from World War II to Today.'

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Vietnam 14, Marshall 12, Iraq 12, Us 11, Korea 7, U.s. 7, Afghanistan 7, Navy 5, Opie Smith 5, United States 4, Eisenhower 3, George Marshall 3, Mcmaster 3, Battalion 3, Europe 3, Washington 3, Sanchez 3, Patton 3, Terry Allen 3, Thomas Ricks 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Thomas Ricks  Education.  (2012) 'The Generals  
   American Military Command from World War II to Today.'  

    January 2, 2013
    12:45 - 2:00am EST  

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they are all flesh and blood. that's why people say well why did you put the less than savory side? because they are like us. don't try to just copy any one of them. realize that biography is understanding our world, our values and how you might apply them in your life. thank you all very much. [applause]
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>> you are watching by tv. next thomas ricks looks at why so many world war ii era generals are held in high regard while history is not than suband a general sick amanda troops during later wars. it's a little over an hour. >> good evening everyone. welcome and thank you for joining us. my name is richard konte and i'm the president of the center for no america security. it's a pleasure to welcome you here to celebrate the publication of senior fellow
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thomas ricks book the new generals american military command from world war ii to today. speaking of books, we have some for sale so if you're interested it will be on sale after the event. i already picked up on which i see some of you have in the ballroom lobby. thomas ricks has been a member of of the family for quite a while serving as a senior fellow at the center. tom writes a widely read blog called the best defense which won the 2000 national award for best blog of the year. he is well-known for his book fiasco the american military adventure in iraq and as for his follow up of general petraeus in the american military adventure in iraq. tom spent 17 years as a reporter covering the u.s. military for "wall street journal" and another aide on the same for "the washington post" and in the course of this work he reported on military activities in places as varied as somalia, bosnia and
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iraq and afghanistan afghanistan and is imparted to teams that won the pulitzer prize. as i've gotten -- i learned that he is the rarest rarest of find to disrupt the thinkers we like to say his energy and intellectual creativity combine in novel ways of thinking. he constantly pushes us to think differently in new ways, more nimbly and provocatively. that is a spirit that infuses tom's new book, "the generals." he explores generalship of good and bad in accountability and traces the history of generalship from george washoe and world war ii to chosin reservoir and vietnam. to colin powell and the gulf war and the generals who commanded the iraq from 2003 on. the general argues the military is change over its years in the way it rewards good generalship and punishes bad. toms is a provocative argument and one that we will examine in detail and nice conversation.
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joining tom in this conversation is susan glasser one of the nations top national security journalist. susan is the editor-in-chief of foreign-policy magazine has done tremendous work in billing foreign-policy.com into a key locus of the nationals carry discussion. prior to joining foreign-policy susan was reported to "the washington post" and the capitol hill newspaper roll call and brings great experience and expertise to the conversation tonight. runtime and susan were poised for an intriguing conversation about leadership generalship command and relief, tom and susan. >> for so thank you so much for that kind introduction and thank you to c&s who is not only been a benefactor to tom but directly and indirectly foreign-policy as we embarked on this project over the last two years. thank you very much and i think you have given us a perfect starting point for the conversation today in your very generous and right on the mark introduction of tom and the book
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so -- i too have known tom not only as editor and a friend but as they just dropped a thinker who has lots of important things to say about leadership, followership in the nature of being an institution i think one of the things that i most enjoy personally about reading "the generals" is how well it -- relevant it is in leadership across large institutions and also bringing these questions about accountability and american public life since world war ii which to me in many ways is really what the book is about, as well as a lot of power individual stories both of the general's we have all heard of from general marshall to general westmoreland but also those we haven't heard of and historians i think need to be recaptured. i'd like to go ahead and start right in in the middle if you will, tom. let's talk a little bit about
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your most provocative pieces, which is that oil down to in essence there's just not in a firing going on in the u.s. military since the end of world war ii. >> i will tze yes, there are is not enough firing going on but the book is not simply for firing more general's. it is a brief for accountability. if you hold people accountable for success and failure, you incentivize success in the military and i think we have lost that. there's a real tolerance for media be. as colonel paul yang ling famously said about the iraq war, a private uses his rifle -- [inaudible] and the book is a cry for restoring some of that accountability the george marshall used in world war ii that marshall gave generals about 90 days to two months to either succeed, get killed or be
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replaced. and that is why today people like fred and bald have been forgotten. we know names like ridgway and eisenhower. the younger officers who were moved up because they were successful and we lost in korea, vietnam and iraq. >> i am glad you bring up colonel again wing in iraq is that clearly is the context informs the book although it is a work of history going back to world war ii and to the present day. you make the point that there is more accountability lower down on the food chain than our general officers now. [inaudible] >> that's exact rewrite. [laughter] that is not in the book i don't think. how many people have held to account for the disastrous setbacks the military had early
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on, the failure to see things? >> not really. the stunning thing to me is, good trivia question, who is the last army division commander relieved from combat ineffectiveness? as best as i can tell is major general james baldwin in 1971. since then, generals have been fired but they get fired for basically taking down their pants at the wrong time at the wrong place with the wrong person. it's a little bit like having tenure for university professor. you can get fired fired for an piercing embarrassing an institution with moral lapses but just being encumbereencumbered in your profession is perfectly acceptable. >> before we get on and i want you to step back for second a second and give people a real sense of what he wrote the book in who the heroes are and who the zeros are but just quick wafers because aspiring thing, that is what really has sort of the insiders and the military
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establishment really up in arms. you have gotten under their scan with this critique, this idea that the solution is firing. that has prompted some howls of outrage. why do you think that would make things better? why is that more accountable? >> because if you don't -- if you tolerate incompetence you have an incompetent organization. what you want is not to fire people for the sake of firing. you want to fire people who don't succeed. you want to reward people who do succeed. what you want ultimately is adaptability. i was thinking today about h.r. mcmaster because someone had written to me and said tom you either have a contra insurgency army or a conventional army. you can't have both. h.r. mcmaster is one of the heroes of the gulf war and the most conventional of the characters. the battle of 73 easton. years later in iraqi is one of the first commanders to
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successfusuccessfu lly adopt counterinsurgency tactics. that shows a real flexibility and adaptability and shows the ability to think strategically, to be educated about your profession not just train for your job. training prepares you for the known and education prepares you for thee and him. h.r. mcmaster came and to iraq prepared for the unknown. most notably i would say that tenet general muck card of sanchez who basically had -- blow up in his face and went home and bitter because it was not promoted to four stars. i did my one year and i'm entitled to the promotion. that sense of entitlement is a new thing among generals the sense that we are above questioning. i worry a bit that as a nation, we try to honor and support the troops so much that we kind of include the generals and not
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understanding that one way to his ports the troops is to give them good leadership. they deserve better leadership and deserve the best leadership we can give them. we are not giving it to them right now are goes to be one of the arguments is that really we have a much faster but also more professional stormy then the post-world war i force that marshall had an imperative to turn into a fighting force to begin world war ii and that firing is not necessarily a sign of good leadership or good management of the big organization but could also reflect a failure of an organization to weed out the problems and let them simply fail upwards. >> it's never too late to fire a failure. and i think you really want to give people the best leadership you can find. this is a matter of life and death with the troops. troops know when they are not well led. they sense it and in world war
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ii, though it was cs, it had millions of amateurs. we went from 185,000 troops in the army including the air force before world war ii to 9.5 million in 1945 so necessarily a hugely civilian force comes in. yet, it is adaptable. the key characteristics of the u.s. army in world war ii was to learn. marshall famously said in a meeting once, yes he said to a british officerofficer, our troops make a lot of mistakes but i on my chores they don't repeat them. [laughter] >> wasn't that the testimony of german officers after the war is that they found the americans were learning more quickly? >> i'm a little suspect of the german officers. i would probably say you guys are great. [laughter] >> one great observation in the
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section on world war ii is this incredible speed with which this is playing out which i think bears repeating for this audience because it's dramatic. we like to think today we live in the twitter age where moving at at the speed of like when it comes to our new cycle but the truth is there military isn't necessarily moving at that fasba though. just the pace and scale of the change that marshall was overseeing. >> it is striking that by the time we began fighting effectively in iraq, we had been there longer than we thought. it was about four years before we actually had an effective force in iraq in terms of the strategic effect. i want to emphasize by the way i'm not criticizing our troops today. our troops are well-equipped, well-trained, cohesive and perhaps the best soldiers we have ever had. they are just not as well led as they might be. >> one that -- one important
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thing to surfaces you do make a direct link between bad leadership and when things really go awry. you talk about some of the excesses in iraq for example or in other wars. what do you see as the consequences of some of these bad generalship is? ..
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we basically make our commander. he doesn't know where the bodies are buried. by the time he figures it out, he's got home. i can't imagine running a war that way. can you imagine marshall seemed to eisenhower had 18 months of there. temper some enough else have a turn. marshall and eisenhower made a lot of mistakes and 42. they need in the exam learn from them. at one point in africa thought he might be an elite and sent a letter to his son, seen a, seeing as i'm an elite, that's nature of the business, don't worry about it. >> in fact, that's one of the critiques i've seen surfaced about your prescription to the boat is the question for x months is to fire a general schema does not mean he doesn't tolerate our mistakes, richard meredith suggests even our
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greatest leaders made plenty missed date on the personal front as well as strategic side? >> 155 men's to the division commanders in the army in world war ii. since after many hurdles before that. about 600 officers before the war began, officers he considered dead weight. that's the phrase used in frankfurter was talking about it. so upon hundred 55 men commanded divisions in combat in the army in world war ii, 15 were fired -- i'm sorry, 16 were fired. five are given other divisions and combat leader in the war, which leads to want to make your areas, the way to the weekend for me i was on a john top ends university site looking at the american campaign in sicily in 1943 and a grad student talking about terry allen, mentioned
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casualty after the battle was over in the campaign was one, omar bradley fire terry allen. my jaw dropped. i just cannot abide backward nobody gets fired for nothing. where mediocrity was our goal. instead, i hear about the army firing one of our most affect the division commanders in europe and our first year that were there. that's the threat that began the book for me, going instead meanness. bob killebrew took me aside and said you need to learn more about george marshall. the copy your cd i learned from the archives have been immersed myself in george marshall's the haters really came to to admire the guy. nothing he said particularly likable guy. the other hero of the book is eisenhower. eisenhower is actually under rated. the job of managing the allies, and dealing with the reddish, the french.
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montgomery is a piece of work. you know, at one point montgomery will come see. -- i'm sorry, mike gummi woke me take a miss though he can't get up the plane because these french disney, so montgomery comes to see him come full text by miranda insisted she write this? essentially eisenhower he says that if they are i airbus. it's fascinating to me how that typical relationship with the british if they are realizing we are replacing them not only a comment, but at the superpower. how eisenhower can have it send out easily, manages not, doesn't fire my komeito he sorely tempted to do so several times. if you think i'm exaggerating eisenhower's achievement, think
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of the fall of seniority but george pat and not job. >> things may not gone so well. >> we probably would've ended up in more with the british. last night so after world war ii, are there any heroes or was it a long story of decline click >> know, two personal heroes of mine. one is matthew ridgway, the leading protége who became world war ii's marshall's morning briefer, briefing him on the state of the war. i was basically in intelligence operations brief also given to the president. very a very interesting figure racing quickly from colonel to lieutenant general in world war ii. but korea goes in and turns around workman it differently and put lee. my other hero of the korean war is the guy almost forgotten today, opie smith. for a moment, he's a marine
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general root porting to army generals to macarthur. it's a problem because he believes superior officers are incorrect in her sustenance situation in situation in the orators they're giving him. he has to handle a situation in which macarthur wants him to run his marines to the chinese border, when he believes chinese are pouring in to korea and believes correctly by the way. he handles this extremely well and said the most important thing a general can do are all done before the battle begins. he does three things. he concentrates troops on the west and south type of the reservoir. he lays down a series of supply depots in case he has to retreat and he has an airstrip because it can school you on a retreat for the pants. had he not done these things, we
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might very well have a 16,000 marines a chosen rest of our commode of the greatest military disasters in american history come many times the size of custer's last stand and probably would've resulted in one of two things. escalate nuclear against china or south korea today being a communist state under north korea. i want to have to feel schussler is in the audience tonight. gil schuessler, correct me if i'm wrong, is the granddaughter opie smith. because your father was killed in world war ii. so we have here the granddaughter race to opie smith of the genuine american hero. a big-ticket opie smith and you're a round of applause. [applause]
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and if there's one thing i hope comes out of this book is that the marine corps museum get a deriding critics a chesty poller was the commander chosin reservoir. >> i'm so glad you raise this because for the city who haven't read the book yet, this is by far the most current pain and still unrecognized story. this part of the book it is not the way it might seem, based on a powerful story. is a true tom they should have a soft spot for the marines? he has been accused of being partial to the marines, or is it just at the army produces more about generals? [laughter] >> the army and marine corps are very different. the marine corps still does operate more in the nautical tradition of swift release and holding commanders accountable,
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just as skippers of vessels are held accountable for everything that happens on the ship. for example, the only notable really for the invasion of iraq was general madison said the other regimental commander, colonel dowdy. the reason i got into chosen is because i wanted someone in the book to diet down. most of the book is at the strategic level, how generals think about wars, the first task of the commander to understand the nature of the conflict in which she's engaged. somewhere wanted to see how that gets applied. the whole way from senior echelon counterbid tiant, companies, squads, fire chief. chosin reservoir is interesting because it laboratory example. you have marines on the westside of the reservoir, army unit on the eastside. you have the first division reverse a 50,000 marines on the
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west and south sides. it's comparing decisions made by generals. in this case, not all cases, want to save general scales of these here tonight, if not all cases did we do better than the army. in this case they did, clearly. opie smith makes a series of smart decisions, even though he has mom and i macarthur pushing him in the wrong direction and a reckless fashion. the army unit on the east side of chosin reservoir. people forget this. 90% casualty rate. survivors only survived if they were able to stagger on the ice at the reservoir and walked down to the marines launch for most of this out. and because a little-known marine colonel went out with some corman and marines over the course of several days and pulled in the laudable and
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80 pounds diapering around on the ice. cheney soldiers watched. they could've shot them them at any time. i like this marine colonel, blinking on missing because he was a relief pitcher in the modern age. i think on the hagerstown blue socks or something before he went back to the marines. >> so in the later years of the stories of vietnam, iraq, afghanistan to a lesser extent, that's really where this question of politics and civilian oversight versus what you can light the doorstep of the military comes into play. you recount tales of generals much less heroic than those you just type that in most later wars. where do you feel the balance lies between accountability that should've been there but was missing for the general in vietnam or in iraq in its early days versus the problem of political leaders setting
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impossible polls and ultimately firing only the guy at the very top because things didn't work out politically. >> as soon as the military loses the tradition of relief in korea because the pentagon says two bridgeway coming or going to embarrass us in congress will start asking nasty questions. so rich i wanted to fire five of the six commanders in korea and they basically told and you can do it, they do it on the down low. pretend it's rotation. they basically say the chief of staff has lied to congress, so keep up the façade. release the tradition of relief partly because in the small and popular messy worse, it's harder to know what success looks like. you can be successful. it was clear to me that general petraeus was successful during the search in extricating from iraq, which was his true mission
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in getting us out of the war in one form or another. we've got an interesting point from a secondary theme of the book, which is civil military discourse. i want to give a shout out to two people, bob obuchi suffered through reading my manuscript twice in the senate general doo boat if he is here. there you are. jim dudek is the exception to every i'm saying tonight about generals by the way. a couple of things about jim dudek district may, now retired the only channel i know who upon retirement wrote in a phd program in john hopkinson philosophy, which is an interesting career move. but in review of my manuscript cecchini to think more in the role of civilians and he was totally right and in the rewrite, this became a major theme. both works, what doesn't work? marshland was developed as a
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model is good relations, good discourse. not particularly friendly. >> eisai marshal refuse to dinner. >> refuse to laugh at his jokes come when fdr refers to miss church coming he makes it clear his name is general marshall and the first time marshall ever went to hyde park, roosevelts home, was for his hero to be a pallbearer. he kept his distance commedia was selected for the job because he was candid with roosevelt. before army chief of staff, brigadier in the oval office and basically roosevelt was was a month since his fate a minute, unique to hear me out here. he deciliters chief of staff. he says mr. president, you're wrong. and they tell you why. that's good civil military discourse. it's not people being chummy. it is six assumptions and
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surfacing differences and examining them. a big mistake in iraq was such a notion seki said many more troops, everyone said basically shut up. instead of saying what you think that? i think should seki was probably wrong. probably getting twice as fast. but the military discourse, the quality of that, you got got to look at both sides. are they honest with each other? do they really build into differences deeply and think about them? for example, assumption of vietnam at some point communists have a breaking point we will reach before a breaking point. 1991 because saddam hussein a good something, he'll fall from power. turns out saddam hussein thought he won the night he won the war
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after the invasion. he said i don't know why, but americans have given me a ceasefire. so it's botched partly because they don't have it her examination at the military level instead of having a child, we open up a 20 year war with iraq it takes forever to resolve. today, the low point of military discourse as lyndon johnson. lyndon johnson out one point is a joint chiefs in his office they basically laid down a lot and say we don't like the way of prosecuting the war. he curses them out of the most vulgar terms, which i won't use because c-span will get mad and achieve sleeve. since i've never been talked to like that in my life. well fella, at that point picture stars on the table and say say mr. president, you've
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clearly lost her confidence in me. i am out of here. that's the george marshall would've said had fdr spoken like that to him. we know this because of douglas macarthur pulled this out with roosevelt early in presidency, bristow said he must not talk to the president like that. so these guys had an understanding that then that we seem to have lost in our senior leaders way that their job is to speak truth to power, even when it's uncomfortable, especially when it's uncomfortable. dissent expressed internally is the highest form of loyalty. >> that's where you want to come back to the iraq war, the current iraq war and ask why you think it is to the extent there has been blamed to portion, it is rested mostly with bush and those who chose to pursue the war. the military has not been large been seen by the public to be accountable for what by any
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accounts was an awfully long-term come expensive and not super successful effort to do a country that was far smaller than u.s., had nothing like resources be brought to bear. why has the military not been held accountable and are there places that explain not? >> the first reason is that errors of the bush administration were accused edited skiers behind them and we also want to support the troops, so we confuse supporting the troops but not criticizing generals. we invade iraq recklessly on false premises. we waste billions of dollars fighting a war the wrong way for many, many years and strategically, we wind up knocking on the old work of power in iran to turn over iraq to iran basically. strategically not such a good idea either.
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so the bush administration makes so many mistakes, but at least on a smokescreen, which is hard to see in the military. it is time to rest the military tough questions. what if you guys learned? how would you adapt to? is rooted in history the roman army to mention they prided themselves on adopting tech access their enemies. it made me stop and think. what enemy attacked except we adopt to? you don't want to adopt random ieds, but it made me wonder, are the things we could've done, should have learned that we haven't? is john noggle has famous written about, the army used to be a learning organization. what is that learning, how is that learning? these are the questions we should be asking. why are we asking them? but part of the fault is that they said people not wanting to
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diss the military. second, we have a congress developer knows how to talk to military. two thirds of the members of congress were veterans. today more than two thirds are not. >> a number will go down again. >> it constantly will go down. >> we have at the divide between 1% to fight the wars in 99% who generally ignore them these days, especially when they're no longer are worse. something that struck me recently is iraq today is more violent than afghanistan, but nobody knows that because we don't care. >> not our problem anymore as they say. i want to make sure we get to questions on the speaker and attentive audience. quickly i want to have one of my own, which is you pose early on in the book the question of whether the army went from a leadership under martial to one of management and even micromanagement in the 50s and
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beyond. i was struck by that because in many ways that's the question tickets at the heart of the whole book on the question of how the cities are applicable to other organizations, whether it's business whether parts of the u.s. government. what do you think about that? deciliter had to be a good manager? >> this is one of the surprises is the harvard business review today. but it's the first military history book in a while. leaders have to be managers, that they have to be leaders foremost in one way you'd need is to give subordinates responsibility to let them execute. the problem is if you don't have an organization that optimizes for competent, you have to micromanage, especially if you
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can't remove failures. so you see this in vietnam. commanders are a six-month tours. a lot of them going through quicker. one of the tree company going through five commanders and seven months later the vietnam war. if you don't trust her subordinates come you hover over them, sometimes literally and helicopters. you have the next organization towards mediocrity in stalemate. everybody does a one-year tour go sonsini made progress on the tour. it's a little difference if you dare for seven years for the duration. it's a lot harder to claim progress, steady progress seven years into it. throughout the road to success is through berlin. you point out in the book you have a good vented to get there. >> the whole organization to take some progress. but if everyone does in a homier can keep your nose clean, had
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done in the home of the year and it's not your warranty work. that is under segregation. 11 commanders in 11 years in afghanistan? that's no way to run anything. but you don't want to get rid of the top guy. i keep on thinking about the baseball analogy. if you could only fire atop god, casey in iraq, mckiernan, mcchrystal in afghanistan, the only tool that seems to be available civilian leaders is like fire the manager of your baseball team every time you start losing. >> to keep in the same team. >> sometimes you want to fire the manager, especially bobby valentine. [laughter] but more often you need is a relief pitcher. [inaudible] [laughter] >> is not a baseball manager. >> is not a manager of anything. he's an owner.
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>> you don't get to fire the owner. >> first 10 seasons had a discussion of the redskins in a while. >> it might be the last of the fray. listen, i know there's a lot of good questions out there. repeat with microphones. please identify yourself in here with with and make it a question, too. sir. football, baseball, generals. >> i'm here to talk about warfare. and elliott hurwitz, retired and have it about your books before this one but i admire your work. i saw a film about a month ago called follow me about netanyahu. perhaps you've seen it as well. i talked to the filmmaker and it led me to think about several monitors like this, follow me be the motto of the infantry soldier, which endured during
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the vietnam war witness in the reserves. the data from the front, which i think i read about in world war ii leads me to the following observation that rommel met with troops at the front line to find out the candor from candid troops what was happening and to gain intelligence. is that something you've encountered in the southern leaders? >> that's a good question about commanders began out there. it's clearly a measure of a commander in any echelon. either getting out and about? general sanchez did not generally. i think it was both tracert odierno for division commanders told me they almost never saw sanchez and he only went up once or twice. basically they saw him if they went to commanders meetings in
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baghdad from which fortunately was given an escort from commanders meetings i could go through them. e-mail is a great thing. a good contrast of the petraeus is spent a lot of time doing battlefield circulation today had, getting out and about. odierno did so as well when he was with the trace and i'd had. they also brought in different points of view. it was striking to me in that phase of the surge the different voices esop around american commanders. you know, emma sky, pacifists, british, arab specialist anti-american come antimilitary his odious political adviser. if u.s. general odierno why come you said because she makes me think differently. she asked the right questions. the other people you saw were
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asking iraqis questions. david calcutta asked eric is a question of what to do in cedar city. they started talking intensely to each other. sorry to give offense. he said no, your first time in american has ever asked us what to do instead of telling us. since five years into the war a thing. so getting out and about is a great thing and a sign of a good commander. [inaudible] >> i'm not an expert on the german military. if i didn't say anything, bob golden widdecombe at me. >> for questions. here, ma'am. right here. >> hi, tom. i wanted to personally thank you for supporting advocacy with military families.
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khristich houseman, director of support, nonprofit dedicated to civilian military divide, but also an 11 year army vice them without your help i never would've gotten that op-ed published in the "washington post," said thank you for that. we talk a lot about accountability. what happens on the homefront with accountability? obviously we struggle with mental health issues in suicides among servicemembers and the wife's killing themselves. i know that wasn't an issue. shuttlesworth expected to do with that kind of stepped away they they are now, but from my point of view as a stakeholder, both living and be an advocate, i've never heard of a commander at any level of being relieved for being a block to the soldiers struggling with mental health. we talk a good game about stigma
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in leadership is sending the right message. in terms of policy and accountability, doesn't seem to be any. >> the other day at politics & prose, our great local bookstore , retired brigadier general stephen that case, medical officer got up and spoke about that. she said it was clear early on in the war that the carrot tours what the was the ied, roadside bomb. we notice that all experts at the sad consequences for mental health, soldiers morale, but it took us years to start addressing that. he just didn't understand why it took so long for the army to say this is a characteristic weapon -underscore. what effect does it have on soldiers and how do we hope them? >> you have a powerful story the book about pat and his explosion
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at a soldier who is suffering from war fatigue. >> another reason is speaking truth to power when patton were suckered basically ptsd, the medical commander wrote a report compiled it. i'm not sure that would have been so much in today's army. if you look at this case is going on at fort bragg right now at this brigadier general, sinclair, people clearly knew something rotten is going on with that guy in a win on for a long time and nobody did anything about it. >> okay, right appear in the front of them will go to the back. >> hi, bob goldfish. i don't have a job. one of the things you mentioned in the book in you and i batted around a lot was that the
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commanders of the general officer level in korea and vietnam were losers in many cases in world war ii. a lot of them had been up records as battalion or regimental commanders and you mentioned one of the carrot touristic spree brought into vietnam was arrogance, but it seems to me something more there. have you could more thought to why people who did so well in world war ii in many cases flunked out so much in succeeding wars. i haven't figured out why. i'd be interested in your impressions. >> i don't have a complete answer, but i have some impressions, which is these guys genuinely were the murderers of the world. the baton or regimental commanders, generous of vietnam are the same people we are lionized as the greatest
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generation. i'm amazed americans haven't figured this out. saving private ryan, you know, vietnam, and these are the same officers 20 years later. number one, was he beaten the jets and nics, how could a bunch of haitian peasants be a problem even though korea with a hurled twist on the korean tendency to peer the second thing is they don't value education much. when westmoreland is representative of this generation, used to boast that the only primary school as he'd ever been to for airborne school and cooks and bakers school. also into harvard business school on the executive program, which is not a good recommendation of harvard business school. >> that's not in the recruiting literature.
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robert khmer by the way. so they don't value education in general petraeus pointed out that education prepares you to think critically and these guys were not able to figure out the situation that while in vietnam. very similar history, talking about the greatest generation trace the league tank in relief of the 101st airborne at battle of the bulge, give us a to think critically partly because he's had time to say is secretly working through the sky something of the different. not as big a difference the army likes to think. not necessarily underwater, but certainly a different war. though i do think the army coming out of vietnam also
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reinforces the mistake. it rebuilds itself magnificently at the tactical level. it doesn't do anything about generalship. so tommy franks is not an aberration. he's not an anomaly. he's exactly what the army is trying to produce in the 1970s and 80s for which turns out they jumped at a time commanded us understand generalship, who thinks taking the enemy capital is the end of the war inspects about a 20-yard line and goes home. were back to football. >> register with baseball, right? >> i'm not even a football fan. i'm a baseball fan. >> okay, here. >> peter, adam, defense contract through. they served a little bit after the battle passed on.
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he touched on symbian earlier that faq to expound on and that is the difference between management and leadership in the mentioned harvard business school a couple different times and i heard commanders when i served on active duty in the army talk about management by object is inserted to business school approach to things. do you think that is something that has undermined the kind of generalship in leadership your talking about, the management is supposed to being a leader and decided deeper problem in society as a whole? >> i think it probably is a lack of accountability. i think it's easier to fix than we think though. i do think the raw materials about general says that if there's a lot of hard working,
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determined people. the structure pushes them towards the middle rather than push them out. he and the army doesn't like outliers. i remember being told when general casey was asked by h.r. mcmaster had not been promoted to two star, though he'd been very successful in command tours, he said because he's a. give me a break. patton was technically insane. who cares if the guys who. it probably means the only army jargon for disruptive thinker. we could use a few more disruptive thinkers. but you get the nod by saying i
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i want to surface thinkers. it gets in their reporting success and failure. you have a sense of accountability not to the officer corps, but the army as a whole, putting the enlisted soldier before the officers and a sense of accountability to the nation as a whole and the army has lost a bit of that with general officers especially operating like a dilbert union that links to reset the profession. >> you've been very patient in the back there. >> hi, larry smith, advisory group. i'm very interested to maybe take a step back to world war ii and the initiation of the focus on accountability. i did some studying. but uncle had been in the 90th
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infantry in utah beach and i was very impressed to read about the history of division. to my surprise, general gina cody, the commander was relieved within about a week, let alone 90 days. i never found out why, except he wasn't cutting it. i guess the question i had, was what was their downside? i mean, you said about 10% were division commanders relieved. what have been? for they kicked down to the united states or were they sent to the effect that teachers rubber room for less than a couple cases they were reassigned to another division? is that if you could give them a sense that these men were up again so that kind of culture,
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the downside permeated to the future generations such that there were more concerned about avoiding failure rather than achieving success. >> this actually leads to a great trivia question. who is general james chaney? anybody know? eisenhower's predecessor commander in europe. you need braemar show and move to command and air force boot camp in wichita falls. the 90th division is for my book begins, the prolactin and 92 vision of december 44. you're right, it's a fascinating and things. they go through three commanders that summer and frantic in a division commander. this goes to the leadership question when they get a good commander of the division turns around.
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they go through first. the replacement rate for infantrymen that summer was 101st and. one day, william depew, a young officer, standing with his regimental commander in ac 800 men walking towards them in the regimental commander says which battalion is that? basis that not a battalion. that's today's replacement. they chewed up the division through poor leadership. so much so that omar bradley can better breaking up the division simply using it as replacement for other divisions. it gets turned around by the end of the war the 90th division is a good performing division. not because they got new troops are training, they got a leadership. around the army, you do well, you move the quickly.
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then sleep goes from being a regimental commander i believe it d-day to a three-star general or corps commander at least in about 18 months. that's not unusual in the army world war ii. on the other hand, a lot of guys get a week. the other problem is anyone around mart clerk would get fired so mart clerk would get land. this is a weakness of eisenhower mark clarke was known to be very close to eisenhower and the british clearly didn't like him as a leader and army officers knew he was not a good, but also a second that theater this village as she sipped his troops and he should have been
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relieved, but was not, where is terry allen is a general who should not have been relieved, but interestingly, he bounces back to the united states. if you go to carlisle, you can read his letters to his wife, written in pencil on lined school paper. he gets fired and snl is happening. after winning in central sofia in august with a three. he says they want to patton and that's what's going on. he said they're going to give you quite leadership, corps commander. bradley just is not like him. he's old school, a hard drinking cowboy. he's not the kind of leader president makes. that he gets in the united states and says i'm sending him back to europe. marshall disagreed with bradley and that's one of the more interesting place. some of them were only found
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last year in the church marshaling to two very nice setup a look at some of these papers they gave to them. >> here. >> tom davis, retired u.s. army, friend of tom rex. haven't read the book yet, tom. probably like most people. i'd like to throw a premise and see what you think about it given my current incarnation goes back to the previous comment. i was talking to my father-in-law and he mentioned equipment he had as he went utah beach in that period of time and i tallied it up you need about $200 worth of equipment, your standard soldier leaves the base today is going to walk out with about $25,000 worth of equipment. technology is really something
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that strikes me perhaps a little bit, as this quiet pathos, long, where argument is general said to come less inspirational, less strategic thinking and so forth that the technology path to technology patents encoded in the opposite direction. a requirement they have to spend more and more time trying to understand the type knowledge sheet, what it is, how to use it and their focus may be as gone there. in some cases they've done well with it. as a battalion commander in deserts, had this box stuck in my vehicle, basically a tactical cell phone and i was horrified because that meant anybody up to norm schwarzkopf could have a number to call me and expected a lot of supervision. really didn't happen. but my sense is that it's slowly been happening in the age of
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e-mail. do you think the revolution has had the meant typed in how officers think, how they train, command, interact and basically in some way contributed to this situation you describe? >> i did quite a lot. those that protect the logical solutions, even when the answers are not technological, exhibita the ied. we've wasted the science of dollars in counter ied technologies. you have some, but the last week to stop is to talk to the locals, to do so many patrols that they know you're coming through. in that debt during the surge we had these outposts all over the place. remember talking to one unit. when we come on a time, use war bombs are planted the night before. they are showing us. so we tend to look for technological solutions when we
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should not. the second thing is we tend to look at the upside of technology because for americans. we don't think about the consequences and i think there's a real pattern of consequences that we don't recognize. i was talking to some staff officers after the anaconda battle in the predator feed coming in during the battle and one colonel discussed discussed with her today, due to a predator free this? crack for generals. but it goes to a point, when you're not thinking strategically, when you're a general who strained his a battalion commander, who thinks the be-all and end-all is doing off the national training center, then if you don't bowhunter be a general committee simply a battalion commander with stars on your shoulder.
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you interpret the last level you operate successfully. technology enables this. the general at the predator feeds and watch out for the machine gun. they know they shot the guy in the machine gun, but he can't see that three soda straw. vietnam. the echelons in the sky hovering above them, above company commanders. that's technology. that's helicopters enabling a enabling commanders to request that. if you don't ought to be strategically, at least you can do something tactically but frequently you should do something tactically, even if you have a better idea, you got to let the subordinate figure it out and then on its own. if you jump in every time, you're only micromanaging and not letting people and that's what they need to do a subordinate commanders, learn. >> take it that when you think about not just generals, but commander-in-chief can set their
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own watch it play out. it's not just crack for generals anymore. >> predator feeds, not just crack anywhere for generals. >> yes, ma'am. >> hi, christy vargas, reset graduate john hopkins and logistics management or another say sister come or happy to see that inspires you to write this book. >> the moment i thought of this book. >> retailer. for the record redoing third event is coming near. >> and also eliot cohen is in raise the intellectual godfather of this book. his book says syrian command. his book supreme command is the best single thing ever written
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on how president should talk to the military. >> fantastic. autonomy said that. >> inés said. [laughter] >> my question coming out of the strategicprogram is two pronged mlb on this i have your book yet, so i hope you have a nerdy answer this. but the very well-publicized job done in afghanistan appeared to asia, what gives you hope when it comes to future generalship and what makes you despair? >> second part is easier to answer. a lot of things make me despair. what gives me hope that it's going to some perverse, but it's not. the defense budget is going to be cut and let us cut as the british famously said we have no money anymore, so now we must need. we have a military that is at a fire hose of money turned on the last 10 years and intelligence community community as well.
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they were basically given money and told her to spend it through the we have a generation of officers who don't know if the weirdest hairdo looks like. i'm getting e-mails about three caceres six gets there. fellas, this would be 10%, 20% cuts down the road here and it's not a bad thing. another book i've been reading a lot lately as paul kennedy's rise and fall of british naval mastery, which is a wonderful book. he makes the point at the beginning of world war ii, the royal navy was the world's biggest navy. it also is irrelevant. this powerful, but they didn't understand aircraft carriers. the underestimated submarines and they thought battleships were still central to maritime operations. hence the royal navy does almost nothing worth remembering in world war ii. it's a total drain on the
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british. when governor romney was talking about the size of the navy drama database, but that you want to read paul kennedy here. just because you're a powerful navy, doesn't be near the rate may be. what you want is a relative force any relevant for us on the road is going to look different than it does today. i think the place to begin is with pretty severe budget cuts of meat people stop and think. >> okay, we've had so many great questions and i know it can go on all night. we have time for one more than i know tom will talk to a lot of a lot of you individually as well. you, sir. >> perfect segue. i'm a navy captain at the naval academy, also cofounder of warfare. i'm wondering if you could
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comment to rethink what she said about the maritime tradition or have more accountability because the stack into naval officer. we have it tardy chirpy do in anger since 1845. service engagements are under half a dozen. aviators have been fighting it out. as you recall from history and the worst world were coming chillicothe is still the man who could've lost the war an afternoon. worse general skip months or years, naval officers may not get that chance. so back to the young lady's question, do we have confidence to naval officer corps from their studies because you've been around beyond this book is different than generals and accountability funding ships aground in combat accountability that were getting afraid. >> that's a good question in the short answer is i don't know. i think you know more about the subject than i do. give it well and accountability monday the officers.
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but you're right we have muddled the 1% were, but it's been such a bifurcated word in which the air force and navy have played billy minor roles to be honest over the last 10 years in the marines and the army have been fully committed and overcommitted. i saw the other day when of the recent casualties in afghanistan was on a seventh tour there. i find that appalling, dat we put people in the grind again and again for the rest of the country waltzes along. i don't know what the answer is, but the fundamental answer is you got to reconnect people to the military. either people follow the military to think about it, understand it, which leads me to believe we should have some kind of draft. this teaching my liberal sister had a talk about the military
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when her son joined the marines much to her chagrin the city desk in the game? i've got skin in the game. i'm not thinking of warfare is game, but having skin in the game to change your focus away some of sister chain shirt again for the attention she paid to afghanistan on the set and she sent me questions about my blog. he said this, but this guy wrote last month here she was paying close attention nsa nation, i think it's immoral to reach for to democracy and to pay attention. and i worry that the moral hazard is for being morally reckless in the way they carry out wars that worries me a lot. thank you all for coming. i want to thank also my family, my way sitting quietly in the corner. she did not walk out of she threatened. she said she's heard all this the last couple of years and she's very patient.
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i'm going to invoke what politics & prose called the untouchable. if you have a question, fine, don't mask the enlightenment and signing books. i'm a sane people's folks who inside and outside to the people after that. let's get people through the line quickly. thank you very much for coming to me. [applause] >> 500 days come to secrets and lies the name of the boat. the author is curt akin won't hear at the national press club. but in the 500 days to refer to? >> this is about the appeared of
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time between 9/11 and the beginning of the iraq quarter. this is the period when all the major decisions were made in terms of policy, international policy around the world, about how the west is going to respond to al qaeda and 9/11 attacks. >> so when it comes to president bush, vice president cheney, how proactive with a? what did you discover? >> pre-nine 9/11, there is some serious problems. that's been the bush administration received the president received a lot of briefings about the coming attack, was told that there is going to be met casualties, was told there was a spell in the united states. unfortunately, members of the pentagon said this was always the deception deception being done by bin laden to take everyone's eyes off of saddam hussein. after the attack, they got very
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aggressive in terms of policies they decided it took on. what you see in this book is what went into the decisions, how fast they were victims sometimes how badly they were made, but also some of them came out clearly the rate decisions. >> curt akin won't come to use the her secrets and lies. was fun until the lies he found? >> there are quite so many. when you get right down to it, some had to do the simple things such as the knowledge they had within the government about the connections between al qaeda and saddam hussein. one of the most surprising things to me was there as a defense intelligence agency report, a classified report that came out in 2002, that
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specifically said our intelligence on weapons of mass destruction is terrible. we can't establish any of the things were saying to the public and a quote from that document pretty extensively. so that was disturbing on the level that it really did seem like it's something that the preconception, it is accepted. if something didn't, it was tossed aside and clearly people doing the good work for the one saying there was nothing there. >> how do you research a book like this? >> he willingly subject yourself to a great amount of agony. the reporting on this started in 2006 and here we are 2012. when i started, i really thought i was doing a book about the acres of the bush administration and after many hundreds of hours of interviews, i realized i could write volumes on not and
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really take part of the story of the 500 days. i collected as many documents as they could, as anybody who sat down with me will say, i'm pretty much say give me everything and i want it now. i seek documents, even if i don't know what will they have. in the end to put everything into a massive timeline. this one was 3000 pages. that is also an index to all the information i have been from that, able to reconstruct history of what happened. >> as you have to make requests under the president or former vice president speak with you about this book? >> the only thing i'll never do is talk about who did or didn't speak with me. in fact, nowhere in the book to disclose that. i don't talk about who speaks. i tend to find a foia request aren a

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